John's Tool Crib
by John Cupp

Ryobi’s New Low Cost
High Feature Band Saw

I have had a chance to use this very nice band saw for the past few months. Ryobi had the BS 901 Band Saw priced at the low price of just $99.00 at Home Depot but they revised that saw with a new design. The new BS 902 Band Saw adds some very nice features and is still priced the same. That is unheard of in these days of price adjustments that always seem to go up.

When I first received this saw I looked it over very closely to find where they cut corners to keep the price the same. I did find differences but they were all more expensive plus better for the user. What do you get for just $99.00? You get an upgraded motor, a nice rip fence and a new light. You also get a revised Miter Gauge, actually one of the best I have seen on a Ryobi tool. You also get a better saw table that is larger and better set up to use the new fence this saw has.

Since I am going to start my new series where I am going to build two ultra-light skin-covered watercraft this saw will play a great role in the construction. So far I have used it to review its features and also to help our local sewer district. You might be wondering about using the saw for sewer work but that is not what I did. The local sewer district needed some gifts to thank people who have helped them with obtaining grants, so they twisted my arm to build some miniature outhouses. It was a good test for the band saw since my wife (vice president of the district) helped resaw some aged lumber to assemble the gifts. I was willing to help the group out, wishing it were my next boat project we were building instead and letting my mind ponder whether the mini-outhouses would float!

My wife really liked the easy-to-use features of this saw and I fear it may be included in her new hobby room. We used the new fence and miter gauge and changed blades. The new tensioning system proved easy to use and we loved the light that has its own electric plug. The new saw can cut wood up to 3 5/8” thick and 9” deep. It only has one speed but the new motor gives a few more amps to provide the full depth of cuts even in Oak if you need the power.

I did cut some 10’ lengths of the old barn wood (Douglas Fir) and I could not help thinking that I could be cutting strakes for a dory or even strips for cold molding with an inexpensive great saw. Sometimes I think more people would be building great looking boats if they knew they could buy great tools like this new Ryobi BS 902 Band Saw without breaking the bank. As I said the miter gauge on this saw is by far better than the 901 saws unit. It is built to accommodate a large wood fence bolted to it. The plastic viewer that lets you read the angle is magnified so even I can read it without my bifocals.

On the minus side, if there were one, it would be nice to have a four-inch cutting thickness capacity. Although it is much larger than the 901 unit that only cuts to three and one eighth inches. One thing they could have done is place rulers on both sides of the new table as I did to make adjusting the fence easy. Without those rulers, it takes a little longer. With the bright blue and yellow, it does stand out in any shop. When I have small cuts to make, I find myself gravitating to the 902 because it is easy to setup and use. With my Shop-Vac system hooked up to, this saw it leaves very little dust when in use.

With the ease of adjustment and the new features of this saw, it makes owning a small band saw very easy. For experts and new builders this saw is very nice and very handy. Then you have the famous Ryobi two year warranty with their 30 day no questions return policy you have above average service. Take a look at the new saw, you might like it. But whatever you do don’t tell your wife it’s my fault, those angry wife letters are very hard for me to answer. But in this case, she may find her own use for the saw and share your enthusiasm, as mine did!

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